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Russia may increase World Cup budget

Russia
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Russia appoint CSKA boss Slutsky

Euro 2016
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Euro 2016 Forecaster: Several seeded teams in danger of not qualifying

Germany coach Joachim Loew and midfielder Mario Gotze look ahead to their crunch Euro 2016 Group D qualifiers against Poland and Scotland.

The penultimate week of Euro 2016 group qualifying begins on Thursday, and 17 different countries could clinch a spot in France by Tuesday. The qualifying campaign has been rife with upsets, resulting in only two of the nine seeded teams currently being on top of their groups.

With the forgiving nature of qualifying, not all of the seeds are in danger of being eliminated. Each group's top two teams qualify automatically for Euro 2016. The best team of the nine third-place clubs also gets a direct berth, and the other eight third-place teams enter playoffs for the final four spots.

But as it stands, ESPN's Soccer Power Index (SPI) forecasts three seeded teams to finish outside the top two when the group stage concludes in October. Based on 10,000 simulations of the remaining games, here's how SPI sees the groups playing out, with a focus on how the top seeds are performing. (For more information on SPI, see Nate Silver's explainers here, here and here.)

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Vitaly Mutko takes over Russia FA ahead of 2018 World Cup

Former FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb has faced a pre-trial hearing in the United States, where a prosecutor told the judge that negotiations are ongoing to extradite more officials connected to the bribery scandal.

MOSCOW -- Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has taken over control of the country's football association ahead of the 2018 World Cup, with promises of government money for the sport.

The arrival of Mutko, who also oversees Russia's World Cup preparations, comes as Swiss prosecutors investigate alleged corruption in the bidding process for the 2018 tournament. Mutko has been a member of FIFA's executive committee since 2009 and played a leading role in Russia's winning bid.

He takes over from Nikolai...

France to face Russia in friendly at Stade de France in March

Didier Deschamps and Pierre Mankowski believe former Monaco forward Anthony Martial will succeed with his new club Manchester United.

PARIS -- France will host Russia next year in a friendly at the Stade de France as part of their preparations for the 2016 European Championship.

It will be the sixth meeting between the two nations, their first since a goalless draw in 2002. The game will be played on March 25, four days after France travel to the Netherlands in another friendly.

As hosts, France are automatically qualified for Euro 2016 and must rely on friendly matches to get ready for the tournament.

Didier Deschamps's team play...

Russia proposes 2018 World Cup budget increase

Russia's preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup are continuing to make progress, despite ongoing investigations into the bid process by Swiss authorities.

The Russian government has proposed a 12.5 billion ruble ($175m) increase to its budget for the 2018 World Cup, reversing a trend of repeated cuts this year.

A document written by the Sports Ministry and published on a Russian government database on Monday envisages the increase, which would take the budget to 643.8 billion rubles ($9 billion).

That document and another published on Monday proposed various changes to many training bases that will be built for the tournament, but it was not clear...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

New Russia coach Leonid Slutsky looks to veterans to save Euro 2016 bid

Leonid Slutsky has no players under age 24 in his Russia squad.

New Russia coach Leonid Slutsky is putting his trust in veteran players as he tries to save his team's hopes of reaching next year's European championship.

Slutsky took over as coach of the 2018 World Cup host on Aug. 7 on a short-term deal after poor results under his predecessor Fabio Capello left Russia in danger of failing to reach Euro 2016.

His first Russia squad focuses on veterans, with no players younger than 24 and seven over the age of 30, a profound change after Capello had tried to...